The latest set of opinions from advisors to the European Medicines Agency includes a recommendation for just one new medicine, GlaxoSmithKline's melanoma drug Mekinist which is being sold to Novartis.

The agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has recommended granting marketing authorisation for Mekinist (trametinib) for unresectable or metastatic melanoma with a BRAF V600 mutation. The drug is the first cancer treatment that selectively targets the MEK protein kinase.

Mekinist is one of three oncology products GSK is selling to Novartis for up to $16 billion ($14.5 billion upfront, $1.5 billion in milestones). The others include another melanoma drug, the BRAF inhibitor Tafinlar (dabrafenib), and a combination of the two drugs was approved in the USA in January; a file for the combo was pulled in Europe last month.

The CHMP has also backed expanding the approval on Bayer and Amgen's liver and kidney cancer drug Nexavar (sorafenib) to include thyroid cancer. The US Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for this indication in November 2013.

The committee also recommended extensions of indications for Novartis' multiple sclerosis pill Gilenya (fingolimod), Johnson & Johnson's schizophrenia drug Invega (paliperidone extended-release), Boehringer Ingelheim's anticoagulant Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate), Amgen's osteoporosis drug Prolia (denosumab), Sanofi Pasteur MSD's cervical cancer jab Gardasil.